When we come to Colorado State, we are told about our schoolâ€™s traditions.Â We learn that the big â€œAâ€Â on the side of the hill comes from when we were the Aggies.Â We learn that the stump on the plaza has been part of an important tradition of free speech on campus.Â And we learn to sing the words of the CSU fight song with all our might as we cheer on the Rams at Hughes Stadium or Moby Arena.
One tradition that is not emphasized so heavily is the tradition of being Greek â€” joining a fraternity or sorority â€” but itâ€™s a big tradition at CSU all the same.Â Starting in 1915, Greek Life established a presence for itself that has helped shape our university into what it is today.
Greek men and women have contributed to our campus in athletics (Thurman â€œFumâ€Â McGraw was in a fraternity).Â They have been a part of student government (former Colorado Governor Roy Romer was the student body president).Â And once these Greeks have graduated and found success, they have given back to CSU with their money, and lots of it.Â Take for example Kenny Monfort, a fraternity man whose contributions to CSU have been in the millions of dollars over the years, impacting our school in immeasurable ways.Â
You may ask what makes the tradition of Greek Life so influential and enduring.Â The answer is friendship.Â Since joining my fraternity as a freshman, I have made some of the best friends of my life, and I know those friendships will last me a lifetime.
Whatâ€™s more is that those friendships have given me more than just a group of people to spend time with.Â They have given me a group of brothers who share my values and want to be successful while having a good time in college.Â As friends, we push one another to succeed and help to give each other a college experience that goes beyond the dorms or your typical student organization.Â
With these friends, I have traveled the country, hitting destinations like San Francisco for a leadership conference and Panama City Beach, Fla. for spring break.Â I have done service projects around Fort Collins like building a Habitat for Humanity house and carving pumpkins at a nursing home.Â With my brothers, I have gone through four years of the development program that my fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, offers.Â
Through that program, I have attended cultural events, joined other clubs on campus, and experienced new physical challenges through workouts and trips to climb 14ers.Â
I have participated in some of the great traditions of CSU that many students may not experience, like walking with a float in the homecoming parade, or attending the Presidentâ€™s Fall Address.
Through all of this, I have become a better man.Â I have also gotten the full CSU experienceâ€”one that is not offered by any other type of student organization.Â
I dare anyone to prove me wrong.
If you are thinking about joining a fraternity or sorority, the best advice I can give is to look into all your options.Â Go to rush events, meet people, and donâ€™t be afraid to ask the tough questions.Â Itâ€™s a big decision to embrace the Greek tradition but it will give you an unforgettable college experience and set you up for a future of success and happy friendships.Â Also, remember that joining a fraternity or sorority does not mean you are limited in what else you can do on campus.Â Greek leaders are everywhere, in almost every student organization.Â Even your ASCSU president is Greek.Â
So go Greek and experience the best of CSU.Â Itâ€™s a tradition of friendship that has helped to define our university for nearly 100 years.Â Be part of the tradition.Â Be Greek.
Bijah Gibson is a senior journalism major and president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.